Porcelaine Bisque

I’ve come to see myself
Once lovely porcelaine
Now cracked, rebroken, cracked again,
And countless times reglued,
And painted – over and over and over and over and over and over and over and 

I feel as though I used to be
A sugar bowl of bisque
Fragile, flawless, exquisite

And then the men,
The ten or more
Who played their evil games.

Oblivious to my tenderness,
Ignorant of my worth
They all reached forth with grasping thumb
To break away a piece of me.

I rescued every single piece
And glued it back in place
And carefully painted every seam, over and over and over and over and over 
and over and over and over and over

To cover them, I counted
Lines upon the highway
Every step to school
Poles and scalloped wires

I honed my intellect 
Adding numbers all day long
And multiplying, too
Tracing every letter
Spellig every word
Typing, typing, typing, 
And shorthand curliques

All inside my head, of course,
For no one ever knew
That every breath was measured
Every step was counted,
And every line defined.

I rode my bike in China (as a missionary)
For sixty hours a week
And every moment diligent 
To aim the front wheel right
I halved the painted shoulder line
On every single street

And as I halved, I counted,
In Chinese, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and 
over and over 

Before I had my Doublemint
to help replace the thumb,
there was cotton wool or mattress tick
with which I filled the emptiness
and served to keep me dumb.

And don’t forget the warm spot (inside my elbow)
With the three-sided vein.
That I fondled with a fingertip
As I typed or spelled or counted
In cadence taps of three, over and over and over and over and over and over 
and over and over and over and over

Did I mention I sing as well?
Yes, little nursery rhymes
Or on a good day, even hymns
But only one refrain, over and over and over and over and over and over and 
over and over and over and over

Thus I painted over the cracks 
The only means of knowing
That I had been destroyed

I functioned very well
As anyone could see
I was quite amazing
So talented and smart

No one would ever guess
Least of all, myself.

I birthed my babies one to four
And carried in my bowl
The sugar for them all.

And as the years have taken
Their unrelenting toll
The glue has started peeling
Beneath the coats of paint

I gave them all my sweetness
And they scraped the sides for more
But since I'd never learned to fill me
There wasn’t any more

As they’ve continued scraping,
The cracks have come to show

I fear the day it happens, 
The day I fall apart
I’ve used up all my glue now
And painted out my heart.

            Margaret Cavaletto

Epilogue to Porcelain Bisque

Just as I had feared it would
The day dawned bright and cold
The glue could stick no longer
The seams all lost their hold

At first I couldn’t pick them up
The pieces lay in shards, 
And scattered to the blowing winds
Like a deck of playing cards.

I searched at first half-heartedly
Not wanting to believe 
The whispered scraps of evidence
My mind began to weave.

I came only to know the truth
By the Spirit’s patient teaching
By gentle words of kind reproach
And time and time beseeching

The spirit taught me first to see
that to receive the greatest gift
I must, as well, give credence to
The great mortal rift.

That first I  must embrace the fact
That evil does bear sway,
In a world of white v. black,
Where choice is the only way.

And then I tried to justify
The actions of my dad –
The teachings of his fathers
Were what had made him bad.

The Voice then gently chided me, 
And calling me by name,
He pointed out the obvious –
Our teachings were the same.

And that became the turning point
From whence I understood –
It’s not the circumstance that counts,
But the choice for ill or good.

At last I could believe the things
My pieces had to tell
The psychic walls came tumbling down
And the truth began to jell.

Those days were the loneliest
I hope I ever spend
As I set forth to do the work 
Of helping myselves mend.

I gathered every single piece 
And peeled the paint and glue;
Uncovered all the hidden pain
And suffered it anew.

I took my pieces to the Lord 
And laid them at his feet
For I could find no mortal way
To make the edges meet.

I feared that I would ever be
In pieces on the floor
Or that I’d have to wait till death
And rising, to be more.

But no, He gathered every piece
And held them to his breast
Infusing them with love and light
Till each formed with the rest

He held me up to see myself
As I had been revamped
In place of porcelain sugar bowl
Was a leaded crystal lamp.

My simple form was exquisite
Each facet catching light
Reflecting out to others who
Were searching in the night.

A guiding light he made of me
And set me on a hill;
A sparkling beacon of His love
For others broken still. 

        Julia Fairchild - 1996

These two poems, written two years apart, tell the whole story of my disintegration and healing process.  The first was written before I had any idea whatsoever of myself as having MPD, or DID, as it came to be called.  It was the place I was at right as my husband decided that I was no longer contributing to my family, and he didn't have the capacity for my problems.  It was written in response to my therapists's diagnosis of my having OCD, and saying, "No one knows what causes OCD.  I said, "I know, lemme tell you how it came to be"....and I wrote this poem.  I find it very interesting the concept of "pieces", though I had no idea I had "parts", and also the fact that in the first poem, there is no rhyme or reason, while the Epilogue is well-ordered and rhymes.  Isn't subconscious mind amaaaaaazing?  Note also that the names are different, as I changed my name after my integration, and before I wrote the second poem.